As has been reported by Matt Eddy in his terrific Minor League Transactions series over at Baseball America, the Toronto Blue Jays have released a number of minor league players including some of note.
The Jays have released pitchers Luis Alvarez, Eliezer Bello, Jose Brito, Gage Burland, Adams Cuevas, Ronald Magdaniel, Nicolas Medina, Williams Moreno, Mike Pascoe, Randy Pondler and Meliton Reyes while outfielder Erickvi Celedonio and infielder Joseph Reyes were also cut.
Many of these players are of Latin American origins and generally earned positions on the Blue Jays’ US-based minor league teams before their release. Luis Alvarez pitched in Bluefield this year with some numbers that weren’t bad including a 2.36 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 26 2/3 innings.
Eliezer Bello had a 10.97 ERA over 10 2/3 innings in his second try at the GCL this year, walking 10 batters while Jose Brito also walked 19 batters but in 9 2/3 innings in the GCL in 2019.
Adams Cuevas jumped around this season, spending most of his time in Bluefield where he was decent, posting a 3.45 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 42 and walking nine in 31 1/3 innings, making this release one of the more interesting ones. He actually got into two games in Double-A, giving up a run on two hits and a walk in three innings, striking out four.
Ronald Magdaniel only pitched 1 2/3 innings in 2019 (in Bluefield) after just one inning in 2018 before he was released. Lefty Nicolas Medina looked interesting when he started his career and had a strong 2018 in Bluefield but struggled in Vancouver with a 6.03 ERA and 1.83 ERA in 34 1/3 innings despite striking out 35 and walking 18.
Williams Moreno wasn’t bad in the GCL this year (4.05 ERA and 1.75 WHIP with 16 strikeouts and 13 walks in 20 innings) but he was 21 years old.
Randy Pondler was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year in 2017 but really hadn’t been able to stick above the short season teams with just about 20 innings over 2018 and 2019 in Lansing, Dunedin and New Hampshire. He spent most of his time in Vancouver where he was strong in 2018 but struggled a lot in 2019.
Finally, Meilton Reyes had a 4.93 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 16 strikeouts and seven walks in 34 2/3 innings in Bluefield in 2019.
Gage Burland was a 22nd round draftee in 2018, pitching 22 1/3 innings in 2019, mostly in Vancouver where he had a 7.32 ERA and 2.19 WHIP, walking 15 and striking out 24. Mike Pascoe was another later-round draftee in 2018, going in the 24th round and he also struggled at stops in Vancouver (8.66 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 20 BB, 23 K, 17 2/3 IP) and Lansing (5.34 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 23 BB, 29 K, 32 IP).
Joseph Reyes was in his third year of Rookie ball after signing for $300,000 in 2016 (the year in which the Jays’ international signings were restricted following the signing of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2015). He hit just .150/.280/.320 and while he hit eight home runs, he also struck out 56 times in 153 at bats. Erickvi Celedonio had a decent debut in the DSL in 2018 but struggled in the GCL in 2019 at the age of 18, hitting .197/.322/.237.
We wish all the former Blue Jays minor leaguers the best in their future endeavours.
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